Issues farmers protested 40 years ago still prominent

Issues farmers protested 40 years ago still prominent

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

There is something to be said about history being cyclical. Back in 1979, agricultural activists rode tractors cross country at 15 miles per hour, no more than a hundred miles a day, to take their pleas to Washington. 

Those pleas revolve around family farms and the agriculture economy and have not changed much 40 years later. 

"Now you couldn't drive one tractor down Washington DC, let alone thousands across the country," David Senter with the American Agriculture Movement said.

On display at the Bayer Museum of Agriculture, a glimpse into the fight for a profitable industry. 

"We did not want corporations in some corporate board room making the decisions on what food we eat," Senter said. "We wanted families on the land producing the food."

Senter said a failed attempt of nationwide crop strikes led organizers with AAM to address lawmakers face to face. 

"The Senate on a bi-partisan vote passed the legislation," Senter said. "The House did not and that's what prompted us to drive our tractors down to Washington in 79." 

It took years for the protests to have a lasting effect but eventually policies were put into place. 

"What AAM accomplished saved promptly thousands of family farmers across the country," Senter said. "Some are still on the land today." 

He said to say the industry is in good shape in 2019 would be a lie. Senter believes there is still ways to go. 

"Farmers need a fair price and that's what they need to survive," Senter said. "They don't need more checks, they don't need more subsidies, they need a fair price and market place for what they produce."   

However, Senter said the recently passed Farm bill is a step in the right direction but in order to see that impact, the government needs to reopen. With no end in sight, farmers remain on edge. 

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